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Bible study at public schools focus of NC bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The state's public high schools could soon offer Bible study.

That's if a measure introduced in the North Carolina legislature goes through.

Sen. Stan Bingham, on Tuesday, introduced a bill that would let local school boards offer students elective courses for credit on the Old Testament, the New Testament or a combination of the two. 

North Carolina District-5 Senator Don Davis is one of three Democrats to back the bill.

" This bill would simply allow our student to learn about the bible. How the bible itself has influenced our society, including our laws, politics, heritage, even our language. Understanding that learning about the bible can actually take place while remaining unbiased," said Davis.


Students wouldn't be required to take the courses. However, they would provide academic creditc toward graduation.

Similar courses offered in taxpayer-supported schools across the country have raised concerns with civil libertarians about the Constitutional separation of church and state.

So far, a dozen lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Senate have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Three Democrats have as well.

 

Many people in eastern North Carolina supported the elective on our Facebook page.

So, 9 On Your Side wanted to know what some of the challenges might be in bringing the Bible to the classroom.

East Carolina University Director of Religious Studies, Derek Maher, says teaching religion at a public institution can be tricky.

“ All of us who teach religious studies in public institutions, and become experts in this are, we are confronted with legal concerns that prevail. We understand that there’s a difference between religious advocacy and teaching people about religion,” said Maher.

Tyree Barnes, is a religious studies major, who says offering a class on one religion is biased.

“ It’s doing that without even trying to, by only promoting one religion. You’re already disfavoring other religions, and you’re already showing a bias towards one religion,” said Barnes.

  • Web Poll

  • Do you feel a “Bible Study” course should be offered as a high school elective?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

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    No
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    165 votes
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  • The state's public high schools could soon offer Bible study.
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